Separation Blues For Lankan Tusker
Sri Lanka has had a tradition of gifting elephants to cement bilateral relations with friendly nations. But a recent move to send a baby tusker to New Zealand as a goodwill gesture has kicked up a storm. Six-year-old Nandi was bequeathed to the Kiwis during the visit of former New Zealand prime minister John Key in Colombo last year. A team of vets from New Zealand subsequently came to Sri Lanka to prepare Nandi for her journey to the Auckland zoo. But animal activists in the island nation have risen up in protest, saying it would be cruel to separate her from her family. They also assert that Nandi would find it difficult to adapt to the cold climate. The matter has since reached the court and Nandi’s departure has been put on hold, pending a final decision. “Sri Lankan elephants have strong family ties and to take a child is a sin,” a Buddhist monk and animal activist was quoted as saying.